Limited effectiveness of EU policies to conserve an endangered species in high nature value farmland in Romania

Publikation: Beiträge in ZeitschriftenZeitschriftenaufsätzeForschungbegutachtet


Colias myrmidone is extinct in most European countries of its historic range, and few populations remain in Poland, Slovakia, and Romania. In Romania, this butterfly occurs in traditional farming landscapes of Transylvania dominated by high nature value (HNV) grassland. Parts of these landscapes were recently designated as Natura 2000 areas. In this article, we share insights from our engagement in these Natura 2000 areas, in which agricultural intensification as well as abandonment threaten the survival of Colias myrmidone. We unravel which factors hinder the effective conservation of this rare farmland and ecotone species despite the legally binding nature of Natura 2000 and financial support for HNV grassland in Romania through the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP). Firstly, current financial incentives to maintain low-intensity agricultural practices are insufficient to avert land-use intensification or abandonment. Secondly, a lack of knowledge of the wider landscape beyond target areas limits our understanding of population dynamics and dispersal, which impedes the ability to inform conservation management adequately. Thirdly, the target areas have unclear governance arrangements regarding responsibilities and powers, which prevents transparent collaboration and management structures. To improve support for the HNV systems that are crucial for the conservation of endangered species of traditional agricultural landscapes at the local level, we recommend greater collaboration in conservation governance with small-scale farmers, co-development of management plans, and a shift toward results-based payments for conservation actions. At the EU level, we recommend adapting the CAP to genuinely support small-scale farming and to establish a pan-European monitoring scheme for indicator species of HNV farmland such as Colias myrmidone.

ZeitschriftEcology and Society
Anzahl der Seiten11
PublikationsstatusErschienen - 10.2021

Bibliographische Notiz

Funding Information:
European Commission. 2018. Proposal for a regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council establishing rules on support for strategic plans to be drawn up by member states under the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP strategic plans) and financed by the European Agricultural Guarantee Fund (EAGF) and by the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development (EAFRD) and repealing Regulation (EU) No 1305/2013 of the European Parliament and of the Council and Regulation (EU) No 1307/2013 of the European Parliament and of the Council. Eurlex, Publications Office of the European Union, Luxembourg, Luxembourg. [online] URL:

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 by the author(s).


  • Ökosystemforschung - biodiversity governance, butterflies, common agricultural policy, conservation planning, Colias myrmidone, Europe, grassland, Natura 2000, results-based payments, small-scale farming

Zugehörige Projekte

  • Nachhaltiger Schutz des bedrohten Regensburger Gelblings: Partizipation und Integration der rumänischen Bevölkerung in ein EU-Schutzgebietsmanagement

    Projekt: Forschung